Brand Naming: How to Create an Impactful Name That’s Strategically On Point

Brand naming poses a unique creative challenge. Assuming you’ve already uncovered that perfect idea—something innovative, unique and certain to appeal to a broad audience—you still don’t know what to call it, and perhaps lack objective metrics with which to judge potential options. So how can you be sure your brand name is an asset and not a liability?

Though your brand’s identity encompasses many distinct elements, its name is often the focus of a customer’s first interaction with the brand; a name creates an immediate impression that can either enhance or diminish their perception of who you are and what you do. Who can say how often we pass over a potentially great product on the grocery store shelf simply because the name doesn’t stand out, grab us or say something compelling?

It’s important to acknowledge that brand naming is an inherently subjective exercise. After all, you, as the stakeholder, have to like the name and live with it over the lifespan of the product or enterprise. There are, however, objective criteria that should be considered when evaluating potential names to ensure your selection is not only memorable, but also clearly reflects your brand strategy. Before choosing a name, ask yourself these key questions:

    1. Does the name fit with my brand purpose and bring the brand positioning to life?
    2. Does the name set us apart from competitors, yet make sense in the category?
    3. Is it ownable?
    4. Can it be trademarked? Is the URL available?
    5. Is it flexible and scalable enough to accommodate future expansions to the brand offering or to enter other categories?
    6. Does the name resonate with customers? Will the target audience get it?

Brand Naming in Practice: Cornerstone Building Brands

In November 2018, Ply Gem Building Products and NCI Building Systems merged together to become Cornerstone Building Brands, the single largest manufacturer of exterior building products in North America. With dozens of subsidiary companies and thousands of employees nationwide, the organization needed to develop a new name and branding platform to guide its internal vision and drive a competitive advantage in the marketplace.

Over a period of several months, the organization engaged in research, workshop sessions, surveys and in-depth interviews with key stakeholders in order to form a clearer understanding of its operations from the inside out. Key questions answered during this stage of the initiative ranged from pragmatic (“What makes us different from our competition?”) to introspective (“What does our company truly stand for?”). The findings suggested an opportunity to unite the organization around a shared vision for the future under the name Cornerstone Building Brands—selected by leadership because of its strategic relevance and emotional resonance.

“The essence of our corporate brand name is our building solutions (both commercial and residential) positively contribute to communities where people live, work and play,” explains Susan Selle, Chief Marketing Officer of Cornerstone Building Brands.

Cornerstone Building Brands Brandmark

Choosing the right name for a product or organization is never easy—and it’s just a piece of the puzzle that will eventually form a cohesive brand identity. Positioning, messaging, logo, tagline, imagery and the overall brand experience all play a critical role in shaping the brand in the minds of your customers. Keep the brand strategy in mind throughout your naming initiative and be sure to vet any potential options in testing and you’ll be well on your way to bringing a successful business or product to market.

To learn more about this topic or to discuss an issue impacting your business, contact Bailey’s Vice President of Client Services, Jamie Gailewicz, at 610-818-3103 or click here to contact us via [email protected].

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